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Your SL business revenue and the real world.


Ai Velde
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This has PROBABLY been asked before, but if it has, it was a long time ago and I missed it. I have always wondered about this and I think it's a very interesting topic. Not only that, but it also can illustrate the usefulness of having a successful ("successful" being subjective to each individuals' standards of course) business in SL.

 

Basically, my question(s) is, are you able to cover real world necessary expenses - bills, gas money, food, etc, with the money you make from your SL business when you cash out?

Or, do you cash out at all, or do you always reinvest money you make back into SL?

OR, if you do cash out, do you use the money you make only for only leisurely purposes like.. buying some candy and other stuff. :P

 

For me, I'm still relatively new to cashing out, and today is the first time I've cashed out a pretty good amount. I don't make a lot off my business (and I'm fine with that), but I've been saving my Lindens and am all giddy and feeling proud of myself and accomplished because I can totally pay a bill today with what I've saved in SL the past week and a half. :)

So yeah, who else has had the opportunity to buy or pay for real world stuff with the money you've earned in SL?

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First let me say "well done" for being able to cash out enough to pay an RL bill! A lot of SL businesses just make enough to pay their way in SL (tier and some shopping), and some don't even manage to make enough for their tier. So very well done!

My business has deteriorated over the last year or more but it still just about makes enough for me to live on, bearing in mind that I don't have a mortgage or rent to pay. In the past it earned more than the average UK person's RL wage so it was good back then. In the future, it will continue to deteriorate to the point of closing the business. But that's not a bad thing as I decided to let it do that about a year and a half ago. It's taking a long time but it's getting there.

 

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Thank you, thank you! I know it's not much but it's enough for me to be feeling pretty giddy about it. I still consider myself a pretty small merchant so I'm very tickled. It's definitely good for motivation.

Now see, that's just awesome to me, that someone could even make a living off their revenue from their SL business, and live pretty decently at that. That's why I thought this topic was a good idea, because I find such a thing fascinating. It's unfortunate that your business is deteriorating, though. I know a lot of businesses in SL have been having an uphill battle to stay afloat. Some of my favourite creators have had to close up shop. But if it's your decision for that to happen, then I guess you're not, or hopefully not suffering because of it. That's just so neat though. Congratulations on your success too! :smileywink:

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No I'm not suffering because of it. It's what I've intended for a year and a half. I'm surprised it's taking so long - and it could still take quite a few more months.

There are a number of people who make RL livelihoods from SL - it's not a rare thing. I think there were more before the financial slump though but I think that, even now, new businesses can grow to make good money from SL if a person puts time and effort into it. There isn't any successful SL business that can't be competed with successfully, imo.

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Yes. I buy real stuff with my SL money. The PC system I am using for example. But for me, SL doesn't create a steady income and the money I make is well below any tax limits of my country. This means that technically, it is not a "business" at all. I wonder how many people actually make a living off SL.

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@Phil: I had always heard that it was possible to make a living off SL businesses, but I don't know, I am not a well-off person by any stretch of the imagination. I've been a serious merchant for a little over a year, but seeing as I do struggle a little bit in real life, the prospect and possibilities that an SL business affords someone like me leaves me a bit... star struck I guess!

I do hope more people like you with such a neat story of their success stop by this thread, because yeah, for me, it's something to really marvel at.

 

@Monalisa: Yeah, that's what I'm sure is a concern for people who do make a living off SL, but that's probably the way it is for all self-employed people who have a business. You rely on the chance of customers and don't have a steady income, so you take a risk. But if you are good at setting portions of money aside into savings for times where you may go a few days without a sale (like if the dev team screws up sales on the marketplace with a 'fix' lmao) then people making that living probably don't have to worry about too much.

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Monalisa Robbiani wrote:

Yes. I buy real stuff with my SL money. The PC system I am using for example. But for me, SL doesn't create a steady income and the money I make is well below any tax limits of my country. This means that technically, it is not a "business" at all. I wonder how many people actually make a living off SL.

I pretty much fall in line with MonoLisa.  Untill the past 3 weeks my revenue and cash flow to RL (i.e. my PayPal "hot money" account) has been a very consistent $100 US a week. 

This clearly puts me into the class of SL HOBBY MERCHANT in that its real nice that I can enjoy being in SL and do all the fun things that SL has to offer and at the same time actually generate a sweet continual flow of $RL cash to spend on disposable income "toys". But I will also say that I could be making a ton more SL income but I also value my time to follow countless other interests in and around SL.  In fact the last time I created a new product for my store was last August.  The income I make in SL is on my 6 primary sculpty landscape packs that keep  generating a constant weekly sales flow (until 3 weeks ago when Brooke's Team did something to SLM to cut my sales in half).

I have used it to feed my recent passion that stemmed from the SL Art Community - SL Photo Art - by purchasing a shiny new $1500 Nikon DSLR and lens.  I have also done some major system overhaul of my "SL" PC so that I can more effectively create sculpty/3D content and PS art (2x24" flat screens / i7 CPU / 8GB RAM / SSD hard drive). Now looking at a new top-end laptop so I can hand down my older laptop to other family members...

This income I make in SL is a drop in the bucket to the top career merchants that are making $1000's US per week in income (i.e. the breedable merchants) and more power to them.  But I make enough that I needed to set up a new RL business structure to report my income.  The good part is that I will be operating at a Net $0 income since I am buy a lot of expensive toys that clearly related to my "TOYS VIRTUAL BUSINESS". 
:)

So there you go.
:)
  Im happy.  But that doesnt mean that I dont take the SL income for granted.  If LL takes actions that threatens my income I have worked to create - I will not just shrug it off and say "ohh well it was fun while it lasted"... I will put up a fight as much as the larger merchants would that actually live RL on the income they make here.

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Thank you for responding!

Even though I know that there are merchants that make more than that, for me, I think 100$ per week is AMAZING and is something that I might be able to accomplish someday too with my business! Heck even 50$ per week would be epic. That's another thing I love about hearing the stories of bigger merchants who make real money they can use to cover real expenses or buy real things that they need or want. I think it's good for aspiring smaller merchants to hear things like that, so that they're motivated to continue improving and devoting themselves to their business. For small merchants, especially when the economy gets rough, it's hard to stay motivated to stay in it. So I think it's really good when there are merchants who have a level of success that is attainable. Like for me, if I made 50$ per week, I would consider myself successful by my standards, and that's a goal I think I can reach as a small merchant.

Here's to you and your continued success, Toy. :) I've seen you disgruntled a few times due to the marketplace dev team, so I hope something changes (positively) soon and your sales get back up! But yeah, I can imagine that the people who rely on the competence of LL to sustain their living situations find dips in the economy and screw ups a complete nightmare. :smileyindifferent:

 

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Ai Velde wrote:

Thank you for responding!

----

Here's to you and your continued success, Toy.
:)
I've seen you disgruntled a few times due to the marketplace dev team, so I hope something changes (positively) soon and your sales get back up! But yeah, I can imagine that the people who rely on the competence of LL to sustain their living situations find dips in the economy and screw ups a complete nightmare. :smileyindifferent:

 

 

Thanks Ai... and sounds like you have a good start too.  You will get there very shortly.  The key is to focus on the whole picture when trying to remove $50US per week from LL's account.... To attain that number you need to focus on REVENUE & COSTS.  I believe I have been successful to the level that satisfies me personally because I have focused heavily on keeping my costs to an absolute minimum....

I dont own lands in SL to run my store or for a place to build (that what sandboxes are for) with heavy Teir costs.  And I personally do not own land in SL for personal pleasure and just call me rented store my home.  After a few experiments I have stopped putting any money into any of LL's paid SLM item enhancements which are over priced and under deliver.  I try to do all my own work and not outsource any creation from others. etc. etc. etc.  By keeping my costs down to a minimum, about 90% of my monthly revenue is PROFIT!

As for me being frustrated.... Sure it angers me when LL Commerce Team has no focus and has interests that are only to cover their legal butts vs doing whats good for the merchants and coming up with/implementing half-baked knee-jerk solutions with no thought of how this might impact their customers.  And when these changes directly impact me profits - no matter how small they are - it gets me motivated to take action.  And when people like Brooke and the LL Team ignore the concerns expressed by me and others.... this just gets me more motivated to be heard.

What many here on the forums and likely in LL staff and even others in-world (like someone last night expressed to me directly) dont understand... my passion and frustration expressed in the forums and twitter and other back door communications is not a sign of TOY NOT HAVING FUN IN SL.... to the contrary, this is what I love most. 

This stress for me is Eustress (look it up).  LOL... so to LL Commerce Team that thinks I will throw up my hands and give up in frustration.... you could not be more wrong... this is what excites me :)  Im a change agent in RL and n SL.


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For a very long time I was passive about SL sales -- covering the tier and my shopping habits was enough.  The products I made where usually ones I could not find/buy anywhere -- or I didn't like the quality of current offerings.

As a result, I filled some gaps in the market and sales picked up as my number of SKUs grew.  When it got to the point where I couldn't spend fast enough, I got a bit more serious and aggressive with expanding.

I applied my marketing knowledge to the expansions and now I'd put myself in the Hobby category and I do cash out regularly -- which just makes me feel lazy that I'm not building more, more often.  :)

 

I think the thing to note is, honest efforts are rewarded.  It simply took the initiative to move beyond passive participation.  

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I make a living from the earnings of my estate.  I develop luxury residential land and am able to make a bit more on a sim than most, which helps, but I am by no means one of the big players.  I did web design & development freelance before this and I haven't actually had to have a job in almost 20 years.  Lag and hiccups aside, this is still more fun than anything else I've ever done for a living by far.

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Well, if I didn't have to pay tier for my scenery sims (4) I would have a decent RL income. Only 1/4 of 1 sim is used for my inworld market all other space is used by several rpg groups and people having great times. (free of charge) I could choose to close them down and only maintain the Marketplace but, well, it wouldn't be so much fun and besides that I would let people down.

Ami

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@Toy: I'm very good at keeping costs to a minumum. I've practially grown up like that in the real world, so I can pinch a penny so hard a booger will pop out. :smileyvery-happy: For me, I rent a small lakeside parcel for 750$L a week, and that's the cheapest I could find while still attaining the number of prims I need for my in-world shop on my sky platform, as well as my little lakeside cottage down below. So I'm very happy with the cost of my living situation. It probably could be less, but I share my home with my RL partner as we do SL together, and I wouldn't want us, in essence, to be "homeless."

I might own land some day, but it's not a priority. I rent from one of, what I consider, the best and more-prim-for-your-linden rental 'company' there is, and I'm happy there and don't have any desire to move. I pay 3$ per week from my revenue for my rent and that's perfectly fine for me.

And I think 'pioneering', so to speak, for change, or rather, improvements in SL is good. We need people to be aggressive and push for improvements to make it more enjoyable for all merchants to be merchants. Because with the decline of the SL economy, I've noticed it has stopped being fun for a lot of people, and that is the real tragedy I think.

 

@Sassy: I was the same way. Technically, I'd been a merchant just on XStreet since mid January of 2010, 3 months after I first came into SL in mid-September '09. But up until the marketplace transition, I only ever reinvested the little amount of money I did make back into SL. It never occurred to me until this past September at my 1 year anniversary and the marketplace transition that I could cash out. The fact I COULD really motivated me to get my game up - I started an in-world shop with ALL new products and got rid of the old crappy ones, and have been gradually expanding since and am beginning to see real promise in my business. It's a great feeling being able to cash out, especially when you can put it towards RL things you want and need. I hope you have continued success. :)


@Imagin: I think in you're class of land-related business with land barons and renters and developers, you're in that top class that stand to make a LOT of money in SL. Some of the most successful business in SL, at least to what I've read, are rental and land-related businesses. So it doesn't surprise me you're able to make a living with your SL business. I think that's really incredible how selling bits of land and the like can bring in such a good profit, but for me, I don't think I could ever do such a thing. You need money to make money in that respect; and while you do for 95% of the other businesses (like simple texture upload costs), I couldn't lay down a 300$ set up fee (or whatever it is) for a chunk of land to split up and sell. :smileyvery-happy:


@Ami: Yours are products I'm familiar with, and I would have honestly thought that you would be making quite the good living, as your products are numerous and jaw-droppingly incredible from what I've seen. As someone who admires your work, I also have to say yeah, it's good you keep up your scenery sims. They're stunning and it's obvious a lot of work has gone into them, but I understand tier payments take a huge chunk out of your profit. I hope you continue your success though, and have better times ahead of you, since I know the LL screw ups have been hard on you too.

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Hello Ai,

I'm glad to hear you are so proud on what you have archived. You should be! You earn it, actually anybody who is creative in SL earns it, but not everybody gets it. It's admirable you were able to make a profitable business starting just in 2010. Thumbs up!

My story has a long and a short version. The short version: I consider myself as a 'hobby that got out of hand merchant'

And the long story:
I came to SL because I was fascinated by the idea that the world was made by her residents, and very soon after my arrival I felt I wanted to attribute to this creative world. But then in 2007 I had no idea what I could make. I visited a lot of shops and I saw a lot of common and a lot of strange things and the more I saw the more I got the idea that everything was there already. But during my shop visits I saw a lot of places that did not present their products in the most profitable way, I saw ugly logo's, ulgy advertisements, ulgy productboxes and so on. I wanted to contribute to the beauty of SL and I saw a role for myself as graphic designer. I started camping to cover my texture uploads costs and within a few weeks had my own graphic design studio.
I had made some friends in the meanwhile who had their own business in SL, and after I had made some examples I could show in my studio, I simply started asking them for design jobs. I asked low prices, I started with making advertisement boards for 200 L$. While I considered earning 20x my upload costs as a good deal, my clients told me I should ask more for my work. By that time I really had no idea what kind of income you can generate in SL when you have good Photoshop skills. I raised my prices to 500, same effect: clients gave me tips and said I asked too less money. I raised my prices again... and again, and again.

One of the things I liked to do most was design logo's for SL businesses. You cannot design a logo for somebody out of the blue, you must know what the business is about, what the owner stands for, what kind of customer the brand must appeal to and so on. So apart from having a very close look at the products I also had an intensive talk with the brandowner before I started sketching. I have dear memories of that time, those talks were often a discovery challenge, both for me and the store owner. Some people had a very clear picture of their SL business, but most of them had not. And my questions to get the info out of my customers that I needed to start working on the logo made them think about their own businesses in another dimension then they were used to. They learned something from me, but on my turn I learned a lot from them as well. I learned a lot about doing business in SL, about the practical aspects, about the commercial aspects and maybe even more about the personel aspects. I learned for example that (not always, but in most cases) people's SL businesses are very close to their soul.  SL businesses are businesses driven by passion.


One day I walked into a mathematician in SL, he did scripting work in SL, he had made some things for his friends, just for fun and for the beauty of scripting. The showed me some things he had made, and they were wonderful, but so badly textured... I just felt these things deserved better textures. After we had talked a few times and seemed to like each other good, I suggested to start a business together, with products scripted by him and textured by me. He told me he had no brain for business at all and he was not sure about making a business in SL but he loved to cooperate to make a beautiful object together. We started with making a curtain together. I was very exited about making a business and to apply the knowledge I had gather through logo design for other SL businesses. I made textures for the curtains, I made a business plan, I designed a logo, I designed product boxes, I builded a shop next to my design studio, while my partner was working on the scripts. He turned out to be a perfectionist, something I recognize (I can spend time on one pixel being in the wrong place.) In the meanwhile I was still working as  graphical designer for others and I did not plan to give up on that, because I loved what I was doing 'dress up businesses in a visual way'. My wish to make our own business was actually more driven by the urge to do this whole process of imagebuilding for our own brand, than by the wish to earn money. By that time I was well paid by my design customers, they were happy to pay me 5000 L$ for a design.  I used to make two or three designs a week, while my tiercosts were no more then 500 a week, I considered  myself in a very good wellbeing in SL. (Though I made enough money I never cashed out. I spend some on art, clothes, hairs, shoes, charity and to tip artists and the rest I saved on an alt with the idea I might need to buy a premium account later to have my own land. But the money kept coming, by doing what I best liked in SL I had gathered about half a million linden dollars by that time.)

In stead of my business partner I was very convinced that we would find a market for our curtains. While I had visions selling hundreds of them, he had the idea we would be lucky if we might sell ten or maybe twenty. Before I started thinking about how to price the curtains, I had not orientated on other curtains in SL at all. I started visiting shops that sold curtains and I discovered a few things: there is not óne shop that is selling only curtains, and most of the curtains were low quality and none of the curtains moved so realistic as ours. At the moment you are very enthusiastic about the project you are working on, you might see all through colored glasses, but the more curtains I saw the more I became convinced our curtains were simply the best moving curtains in SL. After an intensive period of beta-testing (which was absolutely necessary before my partner dared to offer his newborn to the world), we could finally put the curtains in the store. We decided to sell them for a very reasonable price (200  L$). I invited some friends to visit and share my joy about this new project and most of them said: you have the best curtains I've ever seen in SL. (How proud were we?) The shop was there, and we did not have the idea the the product would sells right away, we were still thinking about an official opening with a party and a some dj's. But on day one the curtains started selling. Friends were my first customers, and they recommended to their friends. Within the first week sold 20 curtains, next week 40 and it kept growing, the first month that Dynamic Curtains existed we sold about 100 curtains. Within three months we sold about 300 curtains a month, and that seemed to be the limit. For quite a long time, about two years we sold that amount of curtains. (In those years lot of customers have IM'd one of us to say we have the best curtains in SL.)
I considered it as a miracle that this product started selling just by being there. We didn't have promotional campagnes, we didn't advertise, we didn't invite press, we didn't have events, campers or magic chairs. We just set the curtains for sale in a shop and listed our products on slexchange an onrez and they started selling like hot buns.
 Me and my partner shared the profit 50/50. So we made roughly 30.000 a month each. By that time I started cashing out. Also a bit driven by my partner, who always told me: your money is safer on your rl bank then in SL. I thought he was right. After all it's a virtual world just driven on software, you never know what can happen. My first cashing out was with mixed feelings, knowing it was the smartest thing to do, I still felled a bit sorry I would never see my avatar hold the magical amount of 1 million linden dollars. But once the magic ban between sl money and rl money was broken I started to cash out on regular base.

It's through Dynamic Curtains that I discovered the power of selling to the masses. Till then I only had done custom texture work for SL merchants. And though I enjoyed that kind of work very much, this results with the curtainshop made me think again about my future in SL. As a graphic designer you get only paid once for your job, by selling virtual goods you get smaller amount per customer, but you get customers over and over again. You can work on new products, while the ones keep selling. Besides the financial gain I enjoyed the contact with the customers. Not only because they keep telling how they lóóóóve your product, but also to help them solving possible problems. Because you are proud on your product, you want your customers to enjoy it, not to stick it back in their inventory because they experience problems. Beside of that it opens your eyes for needs that customers can have that you did not think of. You can use that knowledge to improve your product and future products.

With my design studio I had been working with a fashion designer for a new logo design and some product templates. I was just in my period of doubt, when she asked me to restyle her whole brand. New productpics, new boxes, new shop design, the whole thing.  I was very honored she trusted me so much that she put her whole brand imaging in my hands, and in a good mood I started studying some big designers in SL that my client had admiration for, to see how they were doing their imagebuilding.  Some of those big designers made the most wonderful outfits, very well designed, very well textures, just top quality. But I also saw shops that were quite good with imagebuilding, but where the merchandise itself was not carefully Photoshopped. Now and then I was so idle to think I would do a better job on those clothes then this famous designer.
While I was actually browsing these topnotch fashion brands to see how to distinguishes the  brand of my client  from her concurrents, I started to get eager to try fashion design myself.  And that's how it happened that I returned with leaden feet to my customer to tell her that I was not going to take the job to restyle her brand. For a while I kept doing smaller jobs for clients I had worked with before, but I didn´t take design requests anymore from new businesses. I started my fashion brand Madame Haute Couture in the place that was once my design studio. That was in spring 2008, it was still a good time for starting up a fashion brand in SL.

With Madame I had a very different experience then with my curtain shop. My designs started selling, but not with the same ease as our curtains. I learned that fashion needs promotion, promotion and promotion. In the beginning it was kind of interesting to find out about marketing techniques and to experiment with several of them. But be in the long run it turns out that you spend more time on promoting your items then on designing them.
Though Madame has made me good money for about one and a half year, much more money then the curtains already did, all the work that was needed from promotion began to feel as a heavy load to me, it kept me too often away from what I actually like to do in SL: creating. 

I tried to work with a marketing manager. Two times I invested a great deal of time in working someone into the job, and both times it didn't turn out well. But every time I made a new design for my brand, I started to hate the promotional round that should follow more and more. And then one day when I was in a promotion dip I put myself for the mirror and asked: what do you really want? Is it more important to keep this money stream coming my way, or is it more important that I enjoy the things I do  my spare time? I decided for the last. I have an RL job that I can live from, the SL money is some nice extra money, but I don't need it to survive. I'm in SL because of my passion for creating. That the results of this creating bring a nice amount of extra money in my rl pockets is very cool, but it's not the ultimate aim.

One of my most important discoveries is that in SL I have the luxury to do business in a way that suits me. I can work with my own moral standards and under my own conditions. My decision was not only driven by my growing hate of the promotional work, but also by the fact that I found a new exiting field to explore: sculpties. Now and then I had bought sculpts for my fashion designs, but I often became frustrated about how hard they were to texture. To get more grip on this texturing of the sculpty I started to learn some basics texturing skills in Blender. And the more I did get a clue about what Blender is able to do , the more it started fascinating me. Being so completely into learning something new, made it quite easy for me to decide not to be the marketing slave of my own brand any longer. I stopped promoting my products and of course the results were dramaticly for my sales.

I often feel that it's more luck then wisdom that I'm a successful merchant is SL. Like with this last step I made... it was not a matter of overseeing the market or knowing that the sculpty businesses would bring me better business opportunities then the fashion industry in which it would become harder and harder to survive. It's pure luck that Blender came on my path just in het right time.
I combined this new skills that I was learning with somethings I was already very skilled in (Photoshop) and that was the start of my fourth company in SL. And this became my most successful brand so far. I enjoy this business in many aspects. Making good quality sculpties is still a challenge, texturing them nicely also, I'm still learning and developing my skills. I work together with another sculpt/texture artist and a scripter, except that it's nice to talk about each others work it's also comfortable that the business is not on your shoulders alone. But the best of all are our customers. The target group our brand aims for, builders and creators,  is an excellent group of customers. They know how to search the market and find the things they need, they have a good developed eye for quality and they have money because most of them they are selling goods themselves.

The money I make with my curtain store and my fashion brand has become less and less in the time being. Both are still profitable businesses, they still sell more then they cost in rent, but you must not think in large amounts. More in terms like: good enough to do some shopping in SL now and then. But I don't care so much for shopping anymore, I already have enough skins, hairs, shoes, and my own hand made clothes. I have most tools I need to have. So I don't spend much anymore in SL, even the small amounts often go into the RL direction now.

I don't make enough money in SL to make a living in RL, I make about the half of it. I could stop working full time and quit half of my job. But I don't. To depend partly on SL for my basic income feels to uncertain for me. I know I'm in a luxury position. I could afford to stop doing the promotional work for my fashion brand and focus on what I really like, because I don't depend on my SL money for a living. I don't think I would have taken that step when this was not the case.
I'm also not so hurt by changes that LL makes and that harm my sales. Ofcourse you can wind yourself up about the way LL treats its merchants, and it still hurts you in the wallet, but some less SL income doesn't mean I won't be able to cover my rl expenses.

So regardless of whatever LL does, I feel I'm a free, independent, innovative and happy creator. Apart from the cash I also take those feelings with me to RL. So in the end SL gives me both a material and a non material form of wealth.


 
   


 

 

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Back in the prime of my business, I was making enough revenue to hold a sim for 2 years and I had a couple of chances to expand.

Otherwise, I never paid RL bills with the profits I got from SL. I usually bought RL entertainment, and used a large amount to purchase components for a new computer and purchase a whitebox laptop and upgrade it, the rest was usually just recycled in SL. Being a uni.student and a full time employee however disagreed with the time use to SL, and eventually I had to scale down SL down to a couple of hours a week, leading to the eventual decline in business (as i have been unable to develop more stuff). For now, Sales do cover running costs in SL, with some light profit.

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Sassy Dirval wrote:

For a very long time I was passive about SL sales -- covering the tier and my shopping habits was enough.  The products I made where usually ones I could not find/buy anywhere -- or I didn't like the quality of current offerings.

As a result, I filled some gaps in the market and sales picked up as my number of SKUs grew.  When it got to the point where I couldn't spend fast enough, I got a bit more serious and aggressive with expanding.

I applied my marketing knowledge to the expansions and now I'd put myself in the Hobby category and I do cash out regularly -- which just makes me feel lazy that I'm not building more, more often.  
:)

That's not too dissimilar to my story. My first business was renting out skyboxes. I only once payed RL money to LL and that was to buy L$ for the first piece of land for the skyboxes, plus the initial premium account fee. During that business, I bought an 8k piece of new mainland with the intention of selling it at a profit when the prices went up, which was what used to happen with new land. But after I'd bought it, the prices stopped going up - the pattern changed - and I was left with it sitting there. It was no good for skyboxes because the sky around it had become full of junk and other stuff.

So I decided to use 1k of it for a yard sale so that my tenants could sell their stuff without cost. I put some of the furniture that I'd made for the skyboxes in the yard sale too. Then I thought that I could make a few more things and have my own little shop there. As the weeks went by, I was surprised at how well my stuff was selling. I made more stuff and kept expanding the store into more and more of the 8k parcel. A few months later I was earning as much in a day as the 60 skyboxes were earning in a month.  The whole thing was an astonishing accident. I'd no idea that so much could be made from furniture. It ended up with me owning almost all of the sim next door for the store, and getting out of the skybox rental business.

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Although this question has been asked before I am very glad you asked it again, because in the 4 years I have been lurking here this is the first time I have seen this question provoke such a positive response, normally there is a barrage of comments from disaffected merchants who have tried something that failed, or from people who have never tried but will still swear blind there is no way to make decent money here. The fact is most people don't see the bigger picture and at one time this was even true of some of the posters to this thread, including myself, who kind of stumbled across our respective lucrative ideas.

Something like 90% of RL business startups fail in the first 2 years, as its easier to start a business here than in RL I have no doubt the figure here is even higher and consequently you wont have to wait long before someone is telling you about their friend who was doing really well and then because of LL (cos its always their fault) the business failed and they had to sell up. When you hear this, CHALLENGE IT!, not only will this reduce this negative publicity, but it will give you the opportunity to learn of the monumentally stupid mistakes that people have made and are still making. Usually it follows the same pattern of far too much emphasis on looking cool and hardly any thought of Profit and Loss.

So my answer to your question is OH YES! you can cover some or even all of your real life costs with an SL business and anyone who tells you otherwise is just plain wrong!

Here's a few tips I have found useful along the way...

Spend only what you need especially when it comes to rent, if you are an overnight success and you need to move to a full sim next week, you can do that here.

Best kept secrets don't make money, advertise, advertise and advertise again.

Do not expect to be an overnight success, most of  the successful people I know here have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours creating, studying the market and looking after their customers, in fact most of us 'Eat/Sleep' our SL businesses.

Learn to convert Linden Dollars to your local currency in your head, think only in RL money, the Linden Dollar will deceive you into thinking you have made more than you actually have and scare you away from spending what you need to on advertising. 

 

Good Luck!

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Well said, Ziggy.  It is also helpful to know your target audience.  If you plan to jump into the fray and try to compete by offering the lowest prices in SL then don't expect much.  That market is already way overloaded.

If you have a quality product don't be ashamed to market it as such, and charge accordingly.  My land is not the most expensive but I don't try to compete with those offering the cheapest land in SL either.  I offer a lot more than most with regard to professional landscaping and I'm not ashamed to say I cater to a luxury market.  This has worked very well for me.

I'm not the biggest or the cheapest, I only aim to be the best :)

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Thank you Madeliefste - that was very informative!  Like you, I have found that I really enjoy creating for builders.

My intention on my little business is to keep it at the hobby level and to keep it fun. I have two RL  jobs already and I really dont want SL to turn into another JOB. Plus the idea of depending on an income from SL honestly frightens me.

I still get a BIG thrill that I can pay all my SL expenses and have a little extra for fripperies. I have my shop on mainland so I can get more land / prims as I grow, and that has helped to keep my expenses low. I dont do some promotional things that might get me more sales, but sound too much like work  (because I am a lazy, lazy otter :smileytongue:)

That said,  I am "taking home" about  75% of  what I earn in SL after expenses and amusing purchases. So not a lot, but a nice little bonus. When I do cash out its usually spent on something fun for hubby and I to enjoy - like a weekend away to see a concert. Or on some gadget or software that has caught my eye.

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I make a living in SL.  It is great for the most part but it does tend to take over your life -- I have to step back and say, well, even if sales slip, I am not going to put this much pressure on myself. I do have a RL and I have to protect it from usurpation by SL.

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here's some food for thought, although it does come with a warning that the figures may be out of date because LL no longer publish the stats (and haven't since oct 2010), so these figures are approximate based on the last 18 months worth of stats (and heavily rounded so they may be a couple of percentage points out, I can't be bothered doing a proper calculation)

So assuming nothing has changed since oct 2010 (har,har)...

There's around 70,000 accounts that have a positive monthly cashflow (ie they receive at least 1l during the month)

around 83% of these make less than 50usd pm

around 89% made 100usd or less per month

so, if you make 50+usd pm you are certainly well within the top 20% of income earners in sl

if you make more than 100usd you're in the top 10%

if you make more than 500usd pm you're in the top 3%

around 1.75% of people make more than 1000 usd per month (that's around 1200 people)  - that's minimum wage remember and also remember this is before tier etc - so a 4 sim estate owner with rents may make over 1k but after tier etc may be only making a couple of hundred a month.

and as an added aside, you've got more chance of joining the mega rich in the us than you do in sl as there's a greater proportion of mega rich there than there is in sl. (relatively speaking of course).

and as a completely spurious aside - my first cashout was many years ago but I still remember it as I bought myself a pair of thigh high laceup boots with 5" heels..  I thought it was an apt way to mark the occasion..  lol

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Couldbe Yue wrote:

here's some food for thought, although it does come with a warning that the figures may be out of date because LL no longer publish the stats (and haven't since oct 2010), so these figures are approximate based on the last 18 months worth of stats (and heavily rounded so they may be a couple of percentage points out, I can't be bothered doing a proper calculation)

So assuming nothing has changed since oct 2010 (har,har)...

There's around 70,000 accounts that have a positive monthly cashflow (ie they receive at least 1l during the month)

around 83% of these make less than 50usd pm

around 89% made 100usd or less per month

so, if you make 50+usd pm you are certainly well within the top 20% of income earners in sl

if you make more than 100usd you're in the top 10%

if you make more than 500usd pm you're in the top 3%

around 1.75% of people make more than 1000 usd per month (that's around 1200 people)  - that's minimum wage remember and also remember this is before tier etc - so a 4 sim estate owner with rents may make over 1k but after tier etc may be only making a couple of hundred a month.

and as an added aside, you've got more chance of joining the mega rich in the us than you do in sl as there's a greater proportion of mega rich there than there is in sl. (relatively speaking of course).

and as a completely spurious aside - my first cashout was many years ago but I still remember it as I bought myself a pair of thigh high laceup boots with 5" heels..  I thought it was an apt way to mark the occasion..  lol

WOW on two fronts about those stats.....

1)  I thought what I was earning a month was nice for me to buy my toys but if those number are right, you are saying I am in the top 5-6%?  Seems almost hard to believe...

2) thinking of you in those real life thigh high boots!
:)

 

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Toysoldier Thor wrote:


WOW on two fronts about those stats.....

1)  I thought what I was earning a month was nice for me to buy my toys but if those number are right, you are saying I am in the top 5-6%?  Seems almost hard to believe...

2) thinking of you in those real life thigh high boots!
:)

 


 

yep and it's been consistently around those figures since I started keeping track of them years ago.  I can't remember how many of these may be estate owners (using a ballpark of the number of 4+ region estates as a guide) but I think that was around 1000 so it's quite possible that there was around 300 average non land baron people earning more than minimum wage - but the figures are very rubbery as some will be inworld solution providers who prefer to be paid in lindens, those transferring business income to a banker alt, the *ahem* adult entertainment providers etc etc. and these figues are inclusive of sinks but not of LL tier (islands and mainland) and I seem to remember LL bragging once that there were only 25 people earning more than 100k usd.

So you do have bragging rights to the claim that you're comfortably in the top 10% of Linden income earners. (because there's an unknown number of people who are paid outside of sl and so aren't counted in this)

 

and even now the boots look fabulous, just don't ask me to use stairs while wearing them ;)

 

 

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